Quantcast
Hopscotch
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 5 stars
  • 100%

  • Hopscotch
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: August 14, 2014

Description:

Hopscotch bills itself as a “gastro pub” but is cooler than even Gangnam’s most upscale boozers. How so? Well to begin with, there is no sign outside: You have to be part of the in-crowd just to know where it is. (And luckily for you, gentle reader, you are now part of this privileged grouping.)

Hopscotch
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 5 stars
  • Spectacular
$Moderate-Expensive
  • 0/5 Avg. User Rating

  • Rated 0 stars
  • 0 No reviews yet!

  • Hopscotch
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: August 14, 2014
  • Ambience
    Editor: 90%
  • Food
    Editor: 95%
  • Service
    Editor: 85%
  • Value
    Editor: 75%

Review Summary:

Long before Psy warbled about it, Gangnam was Korea’s capital of cool, but hipsters with taste (are there any…?) may now be heading for the neighboring hood of Nonhyeon-dong. Here, their destination is a spot called “Hopscotch.”

Hopscotch bills itself as a “gastro pub” but is cooler than even Gangnam’s most upscale boozers. How so? Well to begin with, there is no sign outside: You have to be part of the in-crowd just to know where it is. (And luckily for you, gentle reader, you are now part of this privileged grouping.)

In a Nonhyeon-dong back street, a huge steel door hides this gem. Crack that, and you are in an ante room with a smoked glass door. Beyond that, Hopscotch proper beckons – and it looks more like a London or Boston gentleman’s club than a Seoul watering hole: Dark wood floors, soft lamp lighting and (a touch of 21st century style) patches of exposed concrete here and there.

Put it this way: If you spotted J. Gastby toasting E. Hemingway under the glasses dangling over the bar, neither man would look out of place.

Menu offers an eclectic range of no-BS comfort food. “This is stick-to-your ribs grub,” said co-owner Bryan Do. “We have not altered it for the Korean palate.”

Sounds good. Can we take him at his word?

French fries (in reality, a Belgian invention) have had their reputation butchered by being a fast-food standby worldwide. Can there by a high-quality fry? Yep - and it’s right here. Hopcotch’s offerings are fried in duck fat (!) and cost KRW9,000 per plate. Crisp, crisply flavored and golder in color than an explosion in a jewelers’ shop, they are joyous.

The Five Cheese Mac(aroni) is KRW16,000. In a country where chefs tend to underplay cheese, this powerful blend of punchy flavors proves cheesier than a Tom Jones concert. This provides an instant cure for foreigners in Seoul suffering from fromage withdrawal symptoms and proves that Doh is not dishonest.

More cheese is on offer with the Gorgonzola and Garlic Mash(ed Potato). Priced at KRW8,000 and topped with sour cream, the spud is not fully mashed, so nicely textured, and the flavors are more muscular than Arnold Schwarzenneger’s biceps. Another winner.

So, food is faultless. How about lubrication? Daringly for a south-of-the-river establishment there is no vino: Hopscotch knows its core competencies, and they are beer and single malt whisky. For this review, I’ll remain sober (alas) and restrict myself to beers.

Globally, almost all of today’s beers originate from three great brewing traditions. Czech/German styles are well represented in Korea, and Anglo-Irish styles are now offered (with a North American artisanal twist), by the craft pubs of Itaewon and Noksapyeong. The third tradition, which offers the most varied styles, is the least known in Korea: Belgian.

Hopscotch’s taps dispense local and American craft ales, but the recommended tipples here are the imports, for “Hopscotch” offers the finest range of bottled Belgians this writer has encountered on the peninsula.

A large bottle of Delirium Tremens will set you back a hefty KRW39,000 but it’s a fair price to pay for what many swollen-bellied connoisseurs consider the best beer in the world. This light-bodied, full-flavored blonde ale is deliriously good. Pouring with a huge head, it is complex in the mouth, offering masses of flowery and yeasty notes.

The delight of Hopscotch is that while it may appear imposing for the kind of fellow who wears jeans and a t-shirt rather than Versace and Gucci, there is no pretension. Service is friendly.

There is however, one letdown: the loo. Given Hopscotch’s overall stylishness, and given further that after copious libation, customers will almost certainly be requiring this facility more than once, one might expect a gold-and-marble palace of convenience, wafting fine perfumes. What one gets, however, is the kind of facility one might expect to find in - well, a back alley. As for the bouquet – it ain’t pleasant.

However, one does not judge – say - a sauna by its dining facilities, and one does not diss an eatery due to its lavatory. Hopscotch sets not just a new standard for Korean gastro pubs, it raises the bar for pub grub nationwide.

Photos by Bryan Do and Joe McPherson

 Address: Gangnam-gu, Nonhyeon dong 113-20.

In the alleyway behind the Kia Motors dealership.

Nearest subway: Gangnam-gu Office, Exit 3

Tel: 02-511-0145

Reservations recommended.

Web: https://www.facebook.com/Hopscotch.kr

Hours: 5:00PM to 1:00AM, Monday-Saturday.

Closed Sunday.

 

EDITOR’S ADDENDUM–Unique Belgian on Tap

IV SaisonBy Joe McPherson

I had the pleasure of being a guest at Hopscotch recently while trying their IV Saison. It’s Belgian, and they the only place in Korea serving it on tap. In fact, it’s only sold in Belgium and a select few pubs in the U.S. and Japan. This is an ADULT beverage. It’s not for frat boys. It’s bitter and complex with apricot notes, deep spice, coriander, silky, full rounded warmth. It rates a 97 on RateBeer.com, if that means anything to you. They’re getting this rare and lovely beer direct from the producer for a limited time.

Also got to indulge in some great eats. Andrew is so, so, so correct about the fries. By far the best in Korea. I had the fortune last night of indulging in their duck fat fries right after the fat was rendered. They taste like Christmas! We also had the Chix Rotisserie with Gorgonzola Mash as well as their Jambalaya. The chicken is homey, and the taters have just enough of a hint of stinky cheese. A little seasoning would perk them up even more. In the past, I’ve also had the brisket slider, which is messy and satisfying. I also enjoyed their Shrimp Po’ Boy, though the chewiness of the bread slightly overwhelmed the shrimp. I would still get all of those again. Oh, and Scallops with Bacon Jam? Yeah, they do it. Yeah, you’ll like it.

Their most popular tipple is Zuidam, which is more like a brandy. It’s something to be sipped, savored, and glowed over.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates on the world of Korean food.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

[et_bloom_inline optin_id="optin_4"][sg_popup id=3]